Bharti Airtel profit increases 22%

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Bharti Airtel on Thursday posted a net profit of Rs 2,647.9 crore for the first quarter (Q1) ending June, logging a growth of 22.21 per cent. Its consolidated revenue grew 12.2 per cent year-on-year to Rs 9,942 crore. The quarter’s net income stood at Rs 2,517 crore.

Retaining the top slot in the wireless market in the country, Bharti has added 8.55 million subscribers taking the total subscriber base to 105.20 million customers. The company holds 24 per cent mobile market share. The firm had a forex gain of Rs 250 crore during the first quarter, against a loss of Rs 168 crore in the first quarter of the previous financial year.

Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “Bharti Airtel has once again delivered strong results in this quarter. I am delighted that this good performance validates our rural thrust and investments in the past three years. The focus of the recent Union budget on rural growth and demand stimulation will support the rapid growth of the telecom sector and Bharti Airtel.”

Akhil Gupta, director for Bharti Airtel, said the company would continue its thrust in the rural market. He said that the usage of minutes have also witnessed a growth from 7 billion minutes in the previous quarter to 10.1 billion minutes in this quarter.

“There will be a capital expenditure of $2.2 billion during the present financial year for expansion of Airtel’s network. Another additional $1 billion investment will be made for infrastructure expansion. The total investment would be $3.2 billion,” Gupta said.

He declined to share details of the negotiations with the South African mobile operator MTN.

“Talks are going on between Bharti and South Africa’s MTN Group, to form a global business combination,” Gupta added.

Commenting on the growth in subscriber numbers, Manoj Kohli, chief executive officer, Bharti Airtel said, “The industry has forecast 1 billion customers by 2015. The major additions in new subscribers will come from the rural market. In the next five years around 700 million new customers will be added from the rural market.”

Endorsing the forecast, Sanjay Kapoor, deputy CEO for Bharti Airtel, said 54 per cent of the new subscribers added are from the rural India. The company expects three-fourth of the new subscribers to come from the rural market.

Indus Towers, the joint venture between Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and Bharti, is likely to go for listing next year.

“We are planning to list Indus Towers next year. But we need to talk to other partners on it,” Gupta said.

Bharti plans to list its passive infrastructure Bharti Infratel in the next two years.

Source: Financial Chronicle

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